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Lampson Losing in Poll

Attempting to undercut the re-election prospects of Texas Rep. Nick Lampson (D), national Republicans are circulating a poll that shows the Democratic incumbent trailing former judge Ted Poe (R) by a double-digit margin.

The survey, which was conducted by Baselice & Associates for Poe’s campaign, showed the Republican nominee with 53 percent to Lampson’s 36 percent.

Perhaps more importantly, 50 percent of those tested said they usually vote for Republicans compared with just 29 percent who vote Democratic.

“We always expected that there were opportunities in the three challenger districts in Texas,” said NRCC Communications Director Carl Forti. “What this poll shows is that these will become three of the top challenger races in the country.”

Lampson shot back that in the March 9 primary, he received 53 percent of the total votes cast to 47 percent for the six Republicans seeking the nomination.

“The best poll is an actual election where people go to the polls in large numbers,” he said.

Lampson, along with Democratic Reps. Max Sandlin and Chet Edwards, face serious challenges this fall following the Republican-led remapping of the state’s Congressional districts in 2003.

Fellow Democratic Reps. Martin Frost and Charlie Stenholm are paired against Republican Reps. Pete Sessions and Randy Neugebauer, respectively, as a result of the new map.

The poll in the Houston-area 2nd district is the first extended look at the playing field on which Lampson and Poe will compete this fall.

Drawn to favor a Republican candidate, the district would have provided statewide GOPers with 61 percent of the vote in 2002.

Lampson resisted pressure from his colleagues to take on a kamikaze-like challenge to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R) in the neighboring 22nd district, choosing instead to follow his Beaumont and Jefferson County base into the 2nd district.

The Republican poll showed that Lampson’s base in Jefferson County remains strong, as he led Poe there 69 percent to 23 percent.

In the primary, Lampson, who was unopposed, received 27,284 votes — 21,440 (79 percent) came from Jefferson County.

Lampson’s edge in the survey in Jefferson was nullified by Poe’s showing in Harris County, which takes in a portion of the Houston area.

Poe received 74 percent to Lampson’s 15 percent there.

Poe also ran strong in less-heavily populated Liberty County, which is sandwiched between Harris in the west and Jefferson in the east; he led 52 percent to 28 percent over Lampson.

The poll was in the field April 15, testing 305 likely voters with a 5.8 percent margin of error.

In the March 9 primary, which Poe won without a runoff, 90 percent of his votes came from Harris County. He also carried Liberty (with 479 votes) but placed second in Jefferson.

Though Lampson said he has not done any specific outreach into Harris County so far in the campaign, it is clear he is hoping his accomplishments for the area will give him an entree with the Republican-leaning voters there.

“I have always tried to serve greater Houston, particularly on its transportation needs,” Lampson said.

He noted that with the Johnson Space Center nearby, his position as the ranking member of the House Science subcommittee on space and aeronautics is even more crucial.

“The people that have seen the effectiveness of my representation will convince the new people of this district,” he predicted.

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